I apologize for my unannounced two month hiatus. I've taken that time to focus on myself and make some pretty big life decisions. Also, I went home for a vacation to Nova Scotia which was oh-so nice. I did some reading, watched a few good movies, enjoyed the sun, swam, and spent time with family and friends. Lovely. I was also able to eat at some of my favorite, and truly missed, spots in Halifax (Gracious Indian, Gingergrass, Ardmore Tearoom). During all of this eating and napping, I finally came to a conclusion about whether or not I should return for my final year of grad school.
This is a rather long story - I apologize - but I feel I should give voice to my experiences. Before I start I'd like to mention that I'm keeping my ego in check by reminding myself that I am a very lucky soul; these are all first-world problems, and I am blessed to be able to take the time, and have the means, to decide what to do with my future. Everyone in my life is happy, healthy, and supportive, and for that I am thankful.
This past year has been quite tumultuous, with moving to a new city and province, moving away from family, moving in with my partner, putting my daughter in pre-K and an after-school program, beginning a Masters degree, my partner beginning her Masters degree, getting a puppy, having the puppy pass away, getting another puppy, working full-time... I could go on. During all of this I was managing my school work well (although it was holyshit stressful), but was coming to the realization that I was not in a place where I could agree to 7 more years of the same - the holy grail that is the PhD. Thus, my life course was scrapped and I wasn't sure what I was doing anymore if I would no longer be seeking further schooling in order to become a Psychologist. I thought - let's go back to the beginning of my undergrad when I was intent on going to law school so I could be an activist. I even bought an LSAT prep book. I read Adam Letourneau's book, So, You Want To Be A Lawyer, Eh?, and found myself why I would trade one highly stressful career path for another. I'm really not great at handling unknowns with regards to my future - and so I was consumed with thoughts of different career paths.
This blog, coincidentally, has helped point me towards my career path. Birth, ever since I had my daughter, has been a constant passion for me. Soon after her birth I watched The Business of Being Born, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein's documentary about the culture of birth in the United States. Ever since, I've immersed myself in the discourse on birth in North America through online forums, books, my doula training, and anything I could get my hands on. I had always seen my passion for birth as a sidenote to my career as a psychologist or lawyer; careers that equaled respectability, stature, and power. Letting go of those Western ideals is hard - and choosing a career in birth has been humbling, and freeing. Choosing something I am incredibly passionate about, which allows me to be an activist, is amazing - which brings me to my decision to apply to the Midwifery program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. I vibrate with excitement each time I think about it, which has made my decision to leave graduate school a tiny bit easier.
I've decided to take this next year away from school to focus on myself and my family. I want to pick my kid up from school every day, read a ton of good books, and just spend time enjoying life. This decision has been a long time coming - and is also tied to the incredibly crappy and discriminatory treatment I've faced in this year at McGill by my supervisor and those around her, but that is another blog post entirely. All that said - I'm letting go of my identity as a student for the next short while (fingers crossed I will pick it up again in September of 2012), in order to gain some peace.
Wish me luck!